On Remembrance Day, we stop to remember the people who died in the great wars of the twentieth century. It is a day where we collectively take a moment to think about the past to further strengthen our peaceful ambitions for the future.
Today's anniversary will not be celebrated in the same manner. Instead, we are bound to see examples of overly patriotic support of the Bush Administration with the underlying theme that vengeance has not yet been exacted. What we will not see, in the mainstream American media at least, are people asking why this event happened and how to make sure it doesn't happen again.
In the two years since the attacks took place, few reasonable answers have been given to these significant questions. The most common reply, and a favourite of President George W. Bush, is the simplistic view that terrorists (or evildoers in Bushspeak) are inherently evil and are jealous of American freedom, liberty and democracy. What you will not hear is any mention that American foreign policy might have something to do with the attacks.
Coincidentally, September 11 also marks another anniversary. Thirty years ago today, democratically elected Chilean President Salvator Allende was ousted in a military coup d'etat that saw dictator Augusto Pinochet come to power. Five thousand people would die as the dictator, backed by the Americans, removed the left-leaning Allende at the height of the Cold War.
In fact, Americans have meddled in the affairs of other countries for over a half-century, often with violent results. All over South America, Central America and the Middle East, the American military has been hard at work to ensure American interests are served.
Not surprisingly, there's a bit of animosity.
When the terrorist attacks took place two years ago, this was all seemingly forgotten. There was international condemnation of the terrorist attacks, and rightfully so. The entire world grieved with the Americans for a pain that they knew all too well. With the aim to make the world a safer place, many people felt optimistic American intervention, or better yet international action through the United Nations, would help ensure tragedy on this scale would not happen again in the new century.
In the two years since, the opposite is true. Countries that stood side-by-side with the Americans are no longer allies. Enthusiasts for a war on al-Qaeda are now skeptical of the American empire's underlying motivations. Anti-Americanism is now higher than it has ever been.
Three thousand innocent people have lost their lives and they are being honoured with increased violence and bloodshed on the international scene, a disregard for the UN's potential for peaceful outcomes, and the occupation of two countries with maybe more to come.
Furthermore, the potential for American profit (for a handful of American companies, not the government that is spending $4 billion each month on the occupation) from the latest war adds a disgraceful tint to the supposed "liberation."
It would be wrong to simply think Americans brought the attacks of two years ago upon themselves, or they somehow deserved their fate. September 11 did not happen solely as a result of foreign policy, but due to a mix of factors contributing to the violence. It is equally naaive, however, to deny the role of past American interventions in the fateful attack.
It would be an incredible insult to the people who died on September 11 to continue this wilful ignorance and consistently increase the possibility of similar attacks in the future.